We decided to change our usual review format and write a round-up of the best email programs currently available for the Mac.

It's sad to say it, but Eudora ruled itself out of a recommendation for no reason other than its age and lack of recent development. Let's face it, any mail client whose default application for opening .txt files is Teachtext (the Classic equivalent of TextEdit) is either aiming for the nostalgia market or hasn't been actively developed for some time. More seriously, Eudora's default sound set isn't compatible with Leopard.

Moving onto the first of our front-runners, Entourage has been subjected to a number of improvements since the 2004 version: most notably, the junk mail filter seems to function far better than it did. Well, at least now the entire app doesn't freeze when a contact sends you an innocuous attachment, which is some kind of progress.

We'd have to make this our recommendation if you're looking for a tightly integrated email client and PIM, though don't forget that if you want Exchange server compatibility then you'll need to shell out the best part of £400.

Which brings us to our winner, the Leopard version of Mail. To be sure, Thunderbird gave it a good run, though ultimately the latter's lack of integration, particularly with Address Book, let it down.

We wouldn't say Mail is perfect – even tighter integration with other Leopard programs wouldn't go amiss – but it is now a mature, viable alternative to Entourage for the business and home user.